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Rectal Cancer

Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

There are a number of possible symptoms of rectal cancer. However, other conditions can cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • General abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting.
(Click Rectal Cancer Symptoms for more information.)

How Rectal Cancer Is Diagnosed

To make a rectal cancer diagnosis, your doctor may perform one or more tests to look for rectal cancer. Some of these are the same tests used for rectal cancer screening. They can include:

Staging Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer stages are based on whether the tumor has invaded nearby tissues, whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. Knowing the stage is important in planning treatment.
The different stages of rectal cancer are:
  • Stage 0
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent.
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Rectal Cancer Information

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